It really depends on your study techniques that you've learned throughout school, how your nursing instructors are, how much material is between each test...etc...Every school is SO different when it comes to everything that laying down a specific was to study is extremely difficult. The most important thing though...don't give up the study techniques you've use for non-nursing courses! You can't change your entire way of thinking just for nursing school
(although it IS completely different than any other program out there!)
My best advice is see what the teachers say, In our program we only have about 5 or 6 teachers total, so we deal with them more than once throughout the program. Each teacher is COMPLETELY different when it comes to how they teach, what they want you to know for tests, and how they get questions for the tests. Learning how each teacher works, and how to study for each teacher and each test is really difficult but it does help to understand how they work. (our class for example: we use the same textbook for all of our med-surg classes and for most of our teachers, even though its the same textbook, each teacher wanted us to focus on certain things more than the other, and each teacher demanded a different amount of time focusing on the reading and the other resources we had available to us, if we would study the same way no matter the teacher, we are likely to fail :|)
The best advice I can honestly think of, is to read the material, pay attention to what they want you to know, and really understand the concepts, the disease processes and treatment/nursing interventions for everything they want you to know. For instance, when you go over something such as Diabetes Mellitus (or type 2) you need to understand how the disease works and how it progresses, what parts of the body are affected, what organs are affected and how are they affected. What does it cause symptom wise, and how can you diagnose it. Then you need to understand what kind of treatment is available and how that treatment works to combat the disease and its symptoms. It's a lot of hard work, and I like to compare it to medical school, to me, nursing school is a 2 year medical school that pushes all the information it can into you that any general doctor learns over 4 years.
When you are looking at the concepts you are learning about, understand the big picture, how everything is affected...that's critical thinking, being able to use the knowledge you have about a subject, such as Diabetes, and applying it to a question that you may barely understand. Understanding the overall disease and how to manage it, as well as the priorities (ABC's, ABCDE's, and the nursing process) is what nursing school is all about...